Case Study: UMD Freshman Programs
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) used multiple assessment tools to evaluate its pilot FC freshman engineering programs. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to study student retention, academic performance, attitude toward teaming, life-long learning, and technology use. Comparison of retention data for first-time, full-time students showed that 83% of FC students continued to study engineering at UMD, compared to about 62% of students in traditional engineering programs. FC students reported more experiences working in teams, better integration of course material, increased use of technology, and a greater expectation to return to UMD for the sophomore year. Finally, evaluation of student performance measures indicated that FC students outperformed comparison groups in successful completion of earned credits during the first semester, as shown to below. Based on the results of these assessments, UMD engineering faculty chose to implement FC programs after offering its pilot for only one year.